"Mom and hot apple pie have been replaced by institutional daycare centers and cold apple turnovers at McDonald's."
Patterson explained that if efforts are not made to support women staying at home where they belong, that in a few short years men will be increasingly underrepresented among "the intelligentsia" and will gradually cede leadership to women in areas that should be reserved for men. Patterson lamented that most of the women ascending to these new roles will maintain a major focus on a career, not on the family and on children.
Six years years prior to his speech before the World Congress of Families, Dr. Paige Patterson closed the Ruby Reid Child Development Center at Southeastern Theological Seminary. Patterson told SEBTS students that he had "ideological problems" with the seminary sponsorship of a child-care center. Patterson said,
"Recent discoveries regarding children reared in child-care centers have only escalated our convictions that the child that is most likely to have a happy and useful life is a child reared in the home with the parents, not in a child-care center,"
Patterson's claim that Ruby Reid was not closed for these ideological reasons or it would have been closed when he became President nine years earlier rings hollow. A President must wait a few years until he has a majority of trustees who support his ideological views - or he risks angering the very people who have the ability to terminate him.
Word has it that one of the reasons Phil Roberts is on the hot seat at Midwestern Theological Seminary is because he closed the seminary's child-care center. Midwestern's child-care center had financial problems back in 2000, but with outside management the center has grown a million dollar annual budget. The reasons for closing the child-care center seem to have not been adequately explained to the trustees of Midwestern, if at all. Though Midwestern remains financially viable, it makes no business sense to close a profitable child-care center.
That is, unless the President of Midwestern has an ideological problem with day-care centers - as does his mentor Dr. Patterson.
Southern Seminary announced in April 2000 that the campus child-care program would close. After a strong outcry of opposition, seminary President Al Mohler pledged to keep the center for another year while seminary leaders studied long-term options to meet the seminary's child-care needs. At the time, Dr. Mohler cited financial issues for the closing of the day-care center and denied claims that the decision was based on a belief that mothers should stay home with their children.
There is nothing necessarily morally wrong with a mother who chooses to stay at home to raise her children. There is also nothing necessarily morally wrong with a mother who chooses to work and places her children in day care. It would seem to me that the mother must follow the Lord's leadership in this area, and it may differ from one mother to another.
What IS wrong is when leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, whomever they may be, determine what is wrong for all Southern Baptists - by ideological fiat. However, it seems that some Southern Baptists are beginning to understand the landscape of the SBC and are determined to resist the demands for ideological conformity. I think we will be a healthier convention when more and more Southern Baptists make their voices heard.
In His Grace,